You’ve heard the name Affiliate Marketing all over the place. You may have even met a wealthy affiliate or two, and wondered how they made all that money. It sounds like it’s making some people a whole lot of cash. But it also sounds a bit…well..complicated.
That’s just not so!
Frankly, if you’re reading this, then you have what it takes to be a successful Affiliate Marketer, and join in with one of the fastest growing money earners on the internet today. You – yes, YOU – can be an Affiliate Marketing superstar!
So, Just What IS Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a system by which you get paid whenever someone who visits your web site or blog page carries out some action which a company needs. It might be that they view an ad, or click through on an ad, or most usually, that they buy something.
Let’s take an example that you will probably have seen lots of times. Say you have a blog about cheese making. Cheese making is your hobby, and you enjoy posting pictures of the cheese you make, telling stories of successes and failures – you know the kind of thing.
On your blog, you could advertise some products sold by Amazon. Maybe some books, some cheese molds, or other cheese making equipment. When someone reads your blog, they might be inspired to buy a cheese making recipe book which you have advertised. When they do, Amazon pays you a small commission.
It’s called revenue sharing. And there, in a nutshell, is Affiliate Marketing.
Let’s say that you get an average of $1 for each sale. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But supposing your informative web site or intriguing blog is very successful. Maybe you are making a hundred or more sales each day. That suddenly sounds like real money, right?
And what’s more, it’s money you make while you are doing other things. Like playing with your kids, or sitting on the beach, or even when you’re asleep. The money just rolls on in while you are living your life.
The Three Kinds of Player In The Affiliate Marketing Game
The first player is usually known as the Merchant. That’s the person or organization who has something to sell. It might be a huge company selling products and services, from Amazon or Clickbank, or it might be an individual seller, for example, an online course in how to train your dog.
The Merchant is busy producing their product or service, running their company, doing all the things that are needed to get the goods to the end user. They may not have time to do the actual marketing. That’s where the next step begins.
The Affiliate is often called the publisher. This is where you come in. The Affiliate works to promote the product or service offered by the Merchant. You become the advertiser, promoter and cheer leader for products or services which you will be paid to sell. You take a share of the profit – just by encouraging people to buy.
Let’s say you have a blog about scrap booking. It’s a very well known blog, and you get plenty of visitors. You could advertise all kinds of scrap booking supplies, and earn a commission every time one sold. What’s more, you could feature the products in your advice to your readers – to really incentivize them to buy.
Taking it another step forward, let’s say that you set up a site called thebestlawnmowerforme.com. You could offer reviews of a whole range of lawnmowers, and other lawn care products, and run ads for lawnmowers and garden care items alongside the reviews. Grass seed, fertilizers, lawn trimmers, lawn spikes, kneelers, weeders, plants – the list of products that might be interesting to customers – and rewarding to you – goes on.
You could get really smart, and figure that people who need lawn mowers need lawn furniture, barbecues, lawn care services, vacations to visit big gardens – see how it works from your side?
And once you’ve set up that web site with its Affiliate Marketing ads – the rest just looks after itself! Your job is to simply watch the money rolling in, and decide which of many enjoyable ways you can spend it.
The third part of the Affiliate Marketing equation is of course, The Customer
These days, more and more people buy on line. The Wall Street Journal reports that 51% of people make their purchases on line.
THAT’S HUGE, AND GROWING!
I’m willing to bet cold hard cash that YOU do as much of your shopping on line as you can. And that you look for recommendations, authoritative people to help you decide what to buy – especially for those bigger purchases.
So if you have a site which grabs people’s attention, which offers great advice and a range of products to buy – right there from links on your site – you’re going to cash in on the bonanza which is Affiliate Marketing.
There’s One More Link In The Chain – The Network
A Network is a company like Amazon, Clickbank, or ShareASale which brings together a whole lot of Merchants in one place. It may be that some products or services are only available through the Network – that’s common with both Clickbank and ShareASale.
For you, the Affiliate, the network offers you a place where you can choose which product or products you want to promote. It’s a great place to start looking for the things that you can do a great job of selling – with little or no effort once you’ve set everything going.
Retail Stores Are Panicking!
Yes, retailers with brick and mortar stores are having a terrible time – because millions of people like you are deciding to stay at home, browse through the options, find exactly what they need, choose the best price, get great advice and BUY ONLINE.
How Can You Get Started?
Most people start out by taking the Affiliate route. It might be that you’d like to be Merchant – that’s quite a bit harder – but just in case, here is a very quick run down on being a Merchant.
1. You need a great IDEA for a product or service that people are going to want to buy.
2. You need to TEST your idea to see if it really is as good as you think. Remember, the lower the selling price, the more you’ll have to sell to make an outstanding income.
3. You have to CREATE your product – and if it’s a physical product, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets. If it’s an electronic product, like a “How to” video, then your task is somewhat easier.
4. You have to find good, relevant Affiliates to do your marketing for you.
How To Get Started As An Affiliate
First of all, I want to encourage you and to advise you. The encouragement is that this is something YOU CAN DO. The advice is that at first, you may have to do quite a bit of preparation and ground work.
DON’T BE DISCOURAGED. Thousands of very ordinary people are making a great living from Affiliate Marketing – why not you?
So, let’s get started!
The First Step
The first step is to decide your niche (or niches – you can have more than one). Let’s say that you are a homemaker. You might start a blog called, “Best way to clean your kitchen”. There you’d offer a lot of information on cleaning materials, equipment, and in particular, it’s good if you can do comparisons.
It’s important that the content is good and fair. If you just rave on about one or two products, then it doesn’t sound real. But of course, you want people to click through to buy the products you’re promoting – because that’s how you get your sales, and your income.
A great place to start is with Amazon, Clickbank, or ShareASale. There you’ll find thousands of great products and services which are just ready for you to start selling.
I can hear what you’re thinking. “Won’t I have to have like, a gazillion visitors each day to make any money?” That’s where the second step comes in.
The Second Step
The second step is to collect a large number of email address, addresses that you can sell directly to. How do you do this? Well first, you need to capture email addresses on your web site or blog. Maybe you can offer a free report, a special video, or some other incentive.
You can do this by having what’s called a “Hello bar” when people visit your page. This can allow them access to the rest of your site, or you can make signing up an option. I’m sure you’ve seen these when you are shopping on line.
Don’t forget you can use Facebook to gather email addresses too.
Make sure that you offer something that people really might want. And when you send out those emails, don’t always make them just about selling. People are not stupid – they know that you want them to buy stuff. But remember –
WE BUY FROM PEOPLE WE LIKE AND RESPECT.
So make sure that your emails are always worth reading. Information on new ways to do things, news about developments in an industry, special deals – all these are things which the consumer will find useful, and which will make them more receptive when you start to sell to them.
The Third Step
It’s time for you to become a movie star! Yes, you can be the host of your very own webinar. It’s so easy, you can learn how to do it in minutes at Google.
Remember that most people like to see a product in action, so if you have a brilliant new potato peeler, you can show it in all its glory in a brief and entertaining movie. (If you really don’t like the idea of being in the spotlight, get a personable and bubbly friend to do it for you).
Of course, not everyone learns by seeing. Some people (I’m one) would rather read a report, so make sure you offer that as an option too. A report illustrated by still shots can be very effective as a selling tool – and has the advantage that you can put “Click to buy” spots throughout.
The Fourth Step
Once your Affiliate Marketing site is up and rolling, you should think about doing some paid advertising to get people to your web site. Clearly “Paid” means a cost to you – so it isn’t what you should be doing when you set out – wait until you have a nice income stream and use paid advertising as a way to build your business even more.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
Once you have set up one Affiliate Marketing site, you might well find that you want to set up more. Don’t overreach yourself at first though. Pay attention to detail, make sure your content is good (you can find great writers online who will write selling copy for next to nothing) and in particular, make sure your site is friendly, lively, uncluttered, has great images and in genuinely useful.
Remember – by reading this, you’ve already taken the first step in your personal journey to a great income. You might be the next wealthy affiliate that you meet!